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The Samuel L. Jackson and Quentin Tarantino pair is one of the most iconic duos in filmmaking history. However, that working relationship had to start somewhere. Jackson revealed that he first met Tarantino when he auditioned for Reservoir Dogs, but it didn’t turn out so well. As a result, the filmmaker didn’t make the best first impression on the actor.

Samuel L. Jackson and Quentin Tarantino are frequent collaborators

Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson with an arm around each other
L-R: Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Jackson and Tarantino worked together on six movies thus far. The actor delivers some of the filmmaker’s best roles to the silver screen in a way that feels effortless. Jules from Pulp Fiction continues to make a mark on popular culture but in large part thanks to the way that he reads Tarantino’s masterful dialogue.

However, Jackson and Tarantino continued to work together for years, even when the roles were minor. Next, he played Ordell in Jackie Brown and then Rufus in Kill Bill Volume 2. He had a smaller role as the narrator in Inglourious Basterds but had his share of big moments once again as Stephen in Django Unchained. Jackson most recently starred as Major Marquis Warren in The Hateful Eight.

Samuel L. Jackson said that Quentin Tarantino ‘sucked’ during his audition for ‘Reservoir Dogs’

The Jess Cagle Show on SiriusXM Stars (Ch. 109) interviewed Jackson about his history working with Tarantino. They first met when Jackson auditioned for Reservoir Dogs, but he thought Tarantino was another actor. The legendary actor thought he “sucked” at reading dialogue.

“The first time I met Quentin was when I auditioned for Reservoir Dogs,” Jackson said. “He was one of the people that was reading with me. He and Lawrence Bender, the producer. I was supposed to audition with Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth, but these two guys showed up. I was like, ‘Who the hell are these guys?'”

Jackson continued: “Plus, they were awful. I left that audition and went, ‘Oh, I know I’m not getting this job. These dudes sucked. Who the f*** was that?’ I had no idea who they were.”

However, Jackson and Tarantino would end up running into each other again at the first screening of Reservoir Dogs at the Sundance Film Festival.

“And there he was,” Jackson said. “I was like, ‘Oh, that’s that dude who was in the audition.’ So, I went up to him, went, ‘I didn’t realize you were the director, blah, blah, blah.’ And he’s like, ‘How do you like the guy who got your part?’ And I was like, ‘What? Your movie would’ve been much better with me in it. That guy’s fine, he’s a soap opera actor, you should’ve hired me.'”

‘Pulp Fiction’ brought the pair together


Samuel L. Jackson Threatened to Shoot ‘Pulp Fiction’ Producers in a Wild Audition

However, Tarantino remembered Jackson from the single audition and already had some plans in the works for the actor. They would work together for the first time on Pulp Fiction, which initially caught Jackson off guard.

“He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’m writing something for you,’ I was like, ‘What? You remember me?'” Jackson recalled to The Jess Cagle Show. “And then, you know, a month or so later, I was somewhere else, and Pulp Fiction showed up in the mail, and that was that.”

That Reservoir Dogs audition would ultimately establish one of the best filmmaker/actor teams in the world.